CNN anchor Stevens says curious gene essential for journalists
By Yun Suh-young
A veteran CNN anchor said Korea’s move to shift its focus to equality from growth is a step in the right direction toward becoming a fairer society.
Andrew Stevens, a CNN anchor and correspondent based at the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong, was in Korea to chair a session of the Global Korea 2012 forum in Seoul, Thursday. Hosted by the Presidential Council for Future and Vision, the forum, took place under the theme of “Shared Growth: Toward a New Model of Capitalism after the Crisis.”
“The sheer effect of holding this conference shows that Korea is thinking outside the box. It’s actually prepared to look at the next step,” said Stevens during an interview. “This conference has attracted intellectuals from all over the world. And it’s coming from Asia. As far as thinking about it, as far as addressing this issue, Korea would be at the cutting edge of that.”
He said the forum raised really significant questions about where the world is going from here.
He was the moderator for the third session, “Fair Society _ Building Social Economy for the 21st Century.”
He said “social economy” can be defined as attracting involvement from NGOs and community structures. “It’s basically binding the community and sharing as opposed to shareholders maximizing profits. Creating a fair society means restoring the balance.”
Stevens viewed positively about Korea’s move to become a fair society with its recent shift toward boosting welfare programs.
“I think it’s a pragmatic approach. It makes sense politically and you need more equality. I think there has to be more balance in the economy, in any economy,” he said. “This comes back to the crisis of capitalism. The West has gone down this path that got us to this position where there’s the crisis in Europe. The system which we have been consuming for the last 40 years has been broken. So now it’s time to readjust.”
Stevens, a seasoned business news journalist, said although he supports free trade, he believed in a careful approach.
“I don’t believe in unfettered open global trade. I think it has to be regulated and certain industries need to be protected to a certain degree. Otherwise, in many cases, the biggest will dominate and smaller interest groups are going to be wiped out,” he said.
It was only natural to ask him about business and economy considering his rich background in covering news in this sector.
It’s not about looking good
Stevens, who co-anchors CNN’s live business show, World Business Today, has been a journalist for 25 years and covered economic and corporate stories across Asia and around the world ever since he joined CNN International in 1999. He won the Asian Television Award for Best Business Programming when he anchored previously for CNN's BizAsia. Prior to joining CNN, he had worked for The Guardian and the Press Association in London.
For about 20 years, he had been covering only business news. Had he always been interested in the field?
“No,” he said. “I wasn’t that interested in business. I was a general news reporter and was asked if I wanted to move into business reporting. I remember the business editor telling me if I could understand how business turns and economy works, I could see how the world actually works. I thought that was a powerful argument so I joined the business unit. And then interest in the field grew.”
As a journalist and an experienced business reporter, he recommended junior reporters to cover business and economic stories at least in one point in their careers.
“If you’re thinking about making a career out of journalism, you should do business and economics because it gives you context and perspective. It’s absolutely worth covering.”
As a senior reporter, he advised juniors not to “go for the money” because it was a vocation.
“It’s a career that you have to be really involved in. You have to have a curious gene. You have to want to do long hours and endure frustration. It’s got to be something you really want to do. In TV, don’t go on it because you want to be on TV, because in the end it’s still journalism. It’s not about looking good. It’s about fundamentals of getting the story and caring about it.”